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How the Stay at Home Order Impacts Condos

As expected, Ontario has declared a third provincial emergency.

Effective Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the government is issuing a province-wide Stay-at-Home order requiring everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, or for work that cannot be done remotely.

While this will undoubtedly have an impact on condo dwellers, the impact on condo operations will be minimal as most of last week’s condo-relevant Shutdown restrictions remain unchanged.

Many of you have asked whether non-essential maintenance/repair work in units and common elements can proceed. Regrettably, the province missed an opportunity to provide clear guidance.  Still, for the reasons stated below, we are of the view that all non-essential maintenance/repair work should be postponed.

Quick links

You can read the press release here.

The Stay at home order can be reviewed here. It’s very similar to last December’s.

The (long) list of essential services can be found here.

The (very short) list of business that must close is here.

The Shutdown restrictions regulation can be found here.

Shutdown Restrictions

The following Shutdown Restrictions adopted last week continue to apply.

  • Masks are required in indoor common elements:
    • There are nuances and exemptions but keep in mind that a court has clarified that those exempt from wearing a mask can be prevented from circulating on interior common elements for any purpose other than egress and ingress by the most direct route.
  • COVID Screening: Condos must:
    • Post signs at all entrances informing individuals on how to screen themselves for COVID prior to entering the premises; and,
    • Actively screen every person who works on the premise.
  • Organized events and social gathering:
    • Indoor organized public events or social gatherings of any kind are not permitted;
    • Outdoor organized public events or social gatherings are limited to 5 people;
  • Gym, pools and all other indoor recreational amenities as well as any meeting rooms must be closed;
  • Some outdoor recreational amenities can be opened such as parks and recreational areas; tennis, basketball and pickleball courts; sports fields, and recreational areas containing outdoor fitness equipment.  There are more exceptions, you may want to consult with your favourite condo lawyer.
    • In all cases, however, physical distancing of at least 2 metres must be maintained;
    • Sports or games where people may come within two metres of each other cannot be practice;
    • locker rooms, change rooms, showers and clubhouses must remain closed (except to access equipment, washrooms or first aid)
  • Condo corporations should consider limiting/postponing any non-essential work in both units and common elements;
  • Have your staff and management work from home if possible unless the nature of their work requires them to be on-site at the workplace;
  • Short-term rental can only be provided for individuals in need of housing. Corporations should close their guest suites;
  • Cleaning/disinfecting shall be as frequent as is necessary to maintain a sanitary condition – think of cleaning high touch areas;
  • Essential services include:
    • Laundromats;
    • Snow clearing, lawncare and landscaping;
    • Security services for residential and businesses;
    • Maintenance, repair and property management services required for the safety, security, sanitation and operations of the corporation; and,
    • Construction activities and projects – but we recommend postponing all non-essential work.
  • Non-essential work in units and common elements:

Many people may be tempted to rely on the fact that “construction activities and projects” have been deemed essential to continue with work that would not otherwise be essential. In our view, non-essential maintenance and repair work (both in units and on common elements) should only proceed if required for the “safety, security, sanitation or operations of the corporation”.

We acknowledge that others may interpret the regulation as allowing any  construction activities. We are of the view that such an interpretation would not be in line with the objective and spirit of the regulation and adopted Stay at Home Order.

 

 

Updated April 8, 20201; 12:56pm